Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas travel journal

Tuesday, 12/21

Today on our drive from NY to CT we struck a bird flying across the highway.  It hit the Jeep's antenna and bounced off the windshield.  I saw it coming and screamed but it was too late; there was nothing we could do.  (Ben is disputing this recollection of the incident but I'm pretty sure my memory is better than his.)  Jeep has never struck and killed an animal before (at least not while I was in the car); it was traumatic for both of us.  Ben laughed.  Honestly I laughed too mostly because the antenna looked ridiculous and to keep myself from throwing up.  What was that bird thinking flying over I-90?  "Probably he just wanted to fly into our car to spread his Christmas cheer."

Wednesday, 12/22

Bob picked up his first proper name today.  Ben's brother was ordering a pizza on the phone and gave his name; Bob repeated it perfectly, then said it over and over: "Matt, Matt, Matt."  When Matt walks into the room, "Matt."  Bobby found a picture of Matt on the wall and keeps walking over to it and pointing and saying "Matt."

Maybe just maybe this regular use of an "m" word will encourage Bob to say "mom."

Also, he walked 20 steps or so all the way across Grandma Arpie's kitchen tonight.  I guess that officially makes him a walker.

Friday, 12/24

Drove from Ben's mom's in CT to Tiny Gram's near Sturbridge and then to the Berkshires.  We continued the Christmas tradition we started last year.  Being the statistician that I am, I wondered which was the most commonly played Christmas song; henceforth was invented our game of listening to Christmas music on the radio in the car and keeping a tally of the songs we hear on the backs of Google map printouts.  I guess that's not the game part; the game part is guessing which song will come on next and keeping track of points when we guess right.

Went to the Christmas Eve service at New Life.  Fun to see some of my church family that I haven't seen in a while... and the Christmas band is much improved compared to the past couple of years!

Saturday, 12/25

A fun long crazy day up at Gram's with the fam.  Phew.

Monday, 12/27

Last night I watched the Sound of Music for the first time ever; it was on TV.  I guess it never came on during the Disney channel free trial when I was a kid.  Ohmygosh I loved it.  I missed a few parts while getting Bob and Gram ready for bed... perhaps my Netflix manager will add it to the queue so we can watch the whole thing.

Tuesday, 12/28

Got home last night and had our own little family pretend Christmas today.  Bobby loved his house and his new toys.  We tested out our new snowshoes.  I baked some peanut butter cookies and Ben built a fire.

PS.  I won the Christmas song game this year.  We heard lots of absurdly obscure songs; final score was 2-0.  Care to guess what was most commonly played?

Now to import the photos...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bob's Christmas present

(Bob doesn't read my blog, so don't worry -- I can write about this.)

I really wanted to make Bobby's big Christmas present this year.  I figured: avoid the corporate trap and pour my time and love into the gift instead of my money.  (Little did I know how MUCH time I would end up pouring into it; I'm way too much of a perfectionist about this and I just can't seem to stop.  I have to remind myself constantly that I'm making this for a one year old and Bob could not care less about my paint job.)

The concept, simple: a cardboard house.  Covered and filled with colors and shapes and animals and letters and everything Bobby loves.  (I returned the evenflo car seat but kept the box to use for my project. Please don't tell on me.  The customer service lady didn't even question it because she was too distracted by my beautiful son.)

First step: tape the boxes together.  I used both duct tape and packing tape; I don't know why.  Seems like I should have known that packing tape would be far superior seeing as how cardboard boxes are what it's designed for.  The duct tape was almost worthless.

Second step: cut holes in the boxes.

Third step: let son test it out.

Next comes the painting and stickering.

I'm not quite done; still have to decorate the inside with all that crap on the ground.  But I'm pretty excited about it.  Ben half of the time thinks I'm nuts and the other half thinks it's awesome.... hopefully Bob will be happy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas tree hunt

Ben and I were super excited about getting our very own real Christmas tree this year.  In the past we haven't, because a) there wasn't room in our smallish apartment, and b) we travel for a week around Christmas, so the tree would be all thirsty...

So, Thanksgiving rolls around and we talk about getting our tree.  We discover that we have two different ideas of what this tree-getting will entail.
Ben imagines us going to a tree farm and pointing to the tree of our choice and an eager-looking young lad running over with a handsaw and cutting our prize tree down and wrapping it up for us to strap to the car (like his family used to do -- and I did it with them once -- it was fun!)
I imagine us driving the Jeep up the hill and into the woods, finding a decent tree and Ben chainsawing it down and cutting it to a reasonable size and dragging it through the forest back to the Jeep (like my family used to do, minus the Jeep).  Plus, my reasoning is that we're not exactly rolling in the dough right now since neither of us is exactly working, so how can we pay someone for a tree when we've got 70 acres of woods in our back yard?  "Let's just give it a go," I say.  My logic is rock solid; Ben can't refute it.  I strap Bob into the Ergo; we buckle into the Jeep.  It was warmish and super muddy.  We parked the Jeep at the top of the hill on the main trail and ventured out to walk in the woods.
Right away I spotted some perfectly viable candidates: a bit thin, perhaps, but nothing like Charlie Brown's tree.  Ben disagreed; unfortunately neither of us took any photos of our options as proof so you'll have to believe whoever you want to.
These are the photos we did take...

Ultimately we came away from the tree hunt empty-handed.  I guess I wasn't thinking about the fact that when my family used to go out in the woods at Gram's to fetch our tree, a large part of the "woods" was the tree farm next door.  So, I guess that's a little different than a natural forest, where the pines don't look anything like Christmas trees.

Our second option was to go to a tree farm and buy a tree.  But... Gramps and Kay happen to have a full size artificial ("fake" to me; I was just trying to be polite) Christmas tree stashed away in the cellar.  I all but refused to consider using that tree; I wanted a real tree.  I want to smell pine in the house.  I want to get stabbed by the pokey branches.  But then the responsible little voice in my ear started saying, "Remember how you thought it would be better to not spend money on a tree?" and, "We're still going away for a week at Christmas..."  Ben I think secretly wanted to use the fake tree all along: "It already has the lights on it!  No pine needles and sap everywhere!"  Plus, let's be honest: we both knew who would get stuck doing the majority of the hard work (that would be Ben).

Normally my love and I go to bed as a team, but I was extra tired that night so I turned in early.  And when I awoke in the morning -- the tree was all set up!  Even bare, it wasn't that bad, and I figured that once we got some decorations on there I could probably live with it.  And I can.  In the dark you would hardly be able to tell it's fake if you were a person who couldn't smell.

So that's that.  All in all it's probably for the best.  As much as Bobby would appreciate having a real tree in the house, it would probably be a disaster.

PS... Special thanks to my mom for mailing me a big box filled with all the ornaments she's been saving for me all my life; they make all the difference in making our Christmas tree feel homey and real.  Mom, you are awesome.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bob's bedroom: before and after

Our move a couple of months ago did a number on Bobby's sleeping habits.  Being in an unfamiliar place understandably put him a little out of sorts, and staying in our room for a few weeks didn't do much for his nighttime independence.  To make him feel good about moving back into his own room, we wanted to make it really cute and comforting for him, so we converted Grandma Kay's dressing room into a special place for Bob.

I took pictures of the "before" mostly just so we could put everything back exactly as it was come spring, but since I've got 'em, we may as well compare, if only so that one day our darling son will have another bit of proof of how very much we want him to feel happy and loved.



Family photos, beautiful quilts (handmade by my Tiny Gram, Auntie Tricia and Auntie Claire), and lots of buddies and "softs" make it perfect; Bobby LOVES his new room.  It's tricky to get him settled down for a nap or bedtime because he's too in love with all of his friends scattered around, but once he's in his crib he realizes that he really likes it in there, too, and he's all set.

He's obsessed with climbing up on Grandma Kay's stool to "ohhhh" and "ooooh" and "heeey" over how adorable he and Bailey and his bear and frog are.

And both of us have been getting a lot more sleep lately, which is definitely a good thing.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First visitors on the farm

This is all old news, but since I'm keeping my photo journal here I want to include it anyway...

Two of Ben's best friends for life, Tim and Justin, helped us unload the uhaul when we got to NY.  Just for something interesting to do while they were here, we went to Brewery Ommegang for a tour.

I've been on the tour a few times already, so I stayed at the car with sleeping Bob (okay, mostly I walked around and took pictures, but I kept watch over the car).  Here's little man waking from his nap on the go.

Bobby and I hopped in for the best part of the tour.  I rarely drink anymore, so (I'll be honest) I can get a little loose before the end of the free tasting.

Mom and her boyfriend Tom, James, and Bailey came to visit the first weekend we were here.

We ordered pizza for lunch:

Then my besties Cass and Kara came to visit for Bobby's first birthday.

We walked through Cooperstown...

went to Doubleday Field...
(that's tiny Bob up top in the middle!) 

We took a much more adventurous brewery tour: Ommegang, Cooperstown Brewing Co., and Bear Pond Winery -- and later we ate dinner at TJ's diner...  Bob couldn't do any tasting, obviously, but there was plenty of fun for him anyway...

Cass and Kara brought Bobby lots of goodies for his birthday:

Bob loves to see faces other than ours every now and then!
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